Turf club hails TAB sale as end to rac­ing un­cer­tainty

South Western Times - - News - Mitchell Wood­cock and Michael Philipps

The con­firmed sale of the TAB by the State Govern­ment brings an end to the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the rac­ing in­dus­try, ac­cord­ing to Bun­bury Turf Club chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Alex Doble.

On Tues­day, Rac­ing and Gam­ing Min­is­ter Paul Pa­palia an­nounced the State Govern­ment’s de­ci­sion to sell the bet­ting agency and in­tro­duce a point-of-con­sump­tion tax.

Mr Doble said he was pleased a de­ci­sion had fi­nally been made over the fu­ture of the TAB but he still ex­pected the process to be drawn out.

“There is still plenty of wa­ter to go un­der that bridge and ob­vi­ously you have to find a nat­u­ral buyer,” he said. “There prob­a­bly is a nat­u­ral buyer out there in the mar­ket place it is just whether or not there are any oth­ers to cre­ate that com­pe­ti­tion.

“Com­pe­ti­tion helps to max­imise the sale price ob­vi­ously — not that the sale price is the be-all and en­dall.

“Prob­a­bly the most im­por­tant thing is that the dis­tri­bu­tion model is right for the in­dus­try.

“It en­sures the growth and the sus­tain­abil­ity of the in­dus­try but it def­i­nitely won’t be a fire sale.”

Mr Pa­palia said re­gional rac­ing stake­hold­ers had in­di­cated they wanted the sale of the TAB.

“We went to the elec­tion say­ing that we would only sell the TAB if there was in­dus­try sup­port for it and there was,” he said. “WA rac­ing will be sup­ported by a big­ger and more pow­er­ful en­tity. What they can ex­pect (rac­ing stake­hold­ers) is cer­tainty about their fu­ture, which was not there in the past.”

A to­tal of 35 per cent of the sale of the TAB will be put back into the in­dus­try, as will 30 per cent of the “point-of-con­sump­tion tax”.

South West MLC Colin Holt called for a demon­strated and pre­served ben­e­fit to re­gional race clubs and par­tic­i­pants.

“The Na­tion­als will only sup­port the sale of the WA TAB if it is on the in­dus­try’s terms and strength­ens coun­try rac­ing across the State,” he said.

“I fear La­bor views this trans­ac­tion as a rev­enue rais­ing ex­er­cise in­stead of an op­por­tu­nity to en­rich the liveli­hoods of thou­sands of peo­ple across re­gional WA in­volved in the rac­ing in­dus­try.

“I will need to see the finer de­tails re­lat­ing to the con­di­tions of the sale be­fore com­mit­ting sup­port to the pack­age. I will be work­ing closely with the in­dus­try, par­tic­u­larly re­gional clubs and par­tic­i­pants, to en­sure their best in­ter­ests are served in any po­ten­tial sale.”

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